OCTOPI


octopus3I have long been an admirer of the octopus. As a small child in Long Beach, playing daily in the breakwater, my mother warned me against the unassuming creatures, telling me to stay away from the rocks where they lived. She had taken me to a terrifying movie where the antagonist was a giant octopus who took over a lighthouse, and I envisioned giant octopi waiting patiently to grab little children who didn’t mind their mothers. I think she was more afraid of them than I.

The cephalopods are very old and have slipped through many shapes through their history. They are the wisest of the mollusks, and I have always felt it to be just as well that they never came ashore. Just think of the havoc they would cause running around in downtown New York with all eight arms signaling for a taxi.

It is true that the animals are rather odd looking, but then many of us wouldn’t win a beauty contest either. It gives one a feeling of confidence to see that Nature is still busy with experiments and is not satisfied because a Devonian fish managed to end as a two-legged character with a straw hat.

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Ringo Starr of Beatle fame, wrote a charming little song called “The Octopus Garden”. The truth is that the octopus slides along the bottom collecting pebbles with which it builds underwater gardens. Perhaps this is an ancient memory guiding us to tend our human gardens.

Other than that, what has the octopus actually done to better the world? Its body looks like a bag and its feet are on its head, and it has no bones. On the other hand, it has three hearts which could prove advantageous to those of us whose single heart proves unreliable. It also has excellent eyesight and a well-developed brain both of which could have been an improvement in the human species.

It pays to know that Nature is not finished and that there is still hope for the human race.

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RULE NUMBER ONE


Mrs. Lauderback 2
“Mrs. Lauderback at the Opera” Terra Cotta sculpture by KSR

It’s a fact that we grow older every day. I have had a great ambition not to be a cranky old battle-axe, but then I never wanted to be boring either. I’m trying to make a bigtime play at being old and interesting. If you’re going to be halfway interesting you can’t go around moaning abut your aches and pains. Do you think that’s easy?

You might tell yourself defensively that you aren’t boring you’re just focused. Pain can do that to you. When you develop a body part which doesn’t seem to work properly, it becomes the most interesting and important thing in the universe. Sort of like potty training when your kids were babies and it’s all you could talk about. I do understand that, we all did it.

Pain is different though. You begin listening to people discussing their aches and pains, and you think “Gosh, I have that too. What’s the big deal?” Do they think everyone wants to listen to that? On the other hand shared pain is a conversation starter. You meet all kinds of interesting people and begin to acquire illnesses you never heard of.

But there’s no denying that the discussion of pain is a real downer, and it’s contagious. You begin by feeling sorry for the other person, and end up feeling sorry for yourself. It leads to making excuses for poor performance.

On the other hand, it does absolutely no good for someone who feels like they’re ready to run a marathon to try to pep up the situation. In fact, it may lead to the end of a perfect friendship. Sometimes it feels good to just wallow in your own miserablness, but be forewarned—don’t do it.

Years ago my daughter was caught in a storm which ripped out the road in front of her mountain home. To get out, she had to scramble down a ravine with her two small boys before she could get to relative safety at our home. I was in bed with flu at the time, feeling like death warmed over, but my ever-cheerful husband took me in hand and told me not to make them feel any worse than they do. “No one wants to see your pitiful face.” And you know, he was right. They appeared at our door muddy and disheveled and hungry, and in trying to remedy their situation, I found that I forgot about the flu bug.

On another occasion when I was down with another flu bug, a second daughter in her “previous” life announced that she wanted to get married in a month.

At home.

That may be the fastest I ever jumped out of bed in my life. But again, thinking of someone else instead of yourself was the cure. There’s only so much room in your brain, and it’s truly uncreative to fill it with yourself.

Every month or so I have lunch with a group of my high school friends, all of whom claim to be 86 years old. There are a few canes in evidence, but they all live alone and drive to where we have decided to eat. I am the youngest by a year, and I am the only one fortunate to still have a husband. These are vibrant, interesting women with varied interests. We have made it a rule to begin each meeting by asking if there are any new health problems they need to discuss. If not, the rule is to forget them all for the duration of the lunch. It’s a good rule because everyone has something.

A LONG LONG ROAD A-WINDING


yelloww car
Dr Advice and Panda

The daughter of a friend called me and wanted me to make a wedding cake topper for her parent’s 50th anniversary. My God, I thought. She surely doesn’t want me to make a little bride and groom to sit on top of a traditional wedding cake. Then she made the request more interesting by saying I could use my imagination wherever it led me.

Fifty years in a marriage or anything else is a long time, and yes, it is a journey on the road of Life. The gentleman in question was a race car driver, the wife a fellow artist, so I decided to do a small automobile with the bride and groom inside embarking on their honeymoon. A friend of theirs in Southern California had volunteered to make the wedding cake, so I contacted her to see what she had in mind. Together we planned a three tiered cake on which she would design a road winding to the top with various mementoes of important periods of their lives together. This culminated at the top where the little car would reside The only problem was that I would not see the cake until the night of the reception. We finally had no choice and decided to wing it and trust to luck. The grand night arrived and Glory be! it was a great success!

This gave birth to a series of small cars, personalized for family members and several of them made as wedding gifts for dear friend’s children. Flushed with success I didn’t imagine it could end, I envisioned a fleet of Ferrari’s, Mazerati’s and even a pickup truck. One of the last little cars was destined for a special young friend and her groom-to-be so I took particular care with details. It wasn’t until it was fired and boxed up that we discovered it had no steering wheel!

Well I guess they will be coasting dreamily through life, and that isn’t too bad.

rear view car

IS THERE TRUTH IN ADVERTISING?


felicitous

Is there truth in advertising? If so, we are in trouble, as half the men in the country seem to be impotent. Television commercials and the sports pages of the newspapers are showing a lot of help for these men with the use of Viagra and Cialis, and now many of the unfortunate souls appear to be suffering from low testosterone. I can’t tell you how sorry I am.

It caught the attention of my husband of 67 years immediately when the ads began showing gorgeous women smiling delightedly while their male partners were leering with anticipation. If we really saw that expression we’d call for the cops. It’s interesting to me that some of these afflicted males look barely out of their 20’s. What a shame. I pointed out to him that these were commercials and not real people. He was not convinced, so I called his attention to the rest of the ad: those with health conditions should abstain, and an erection lasting longer than 5 minutes is too long.

I’m sure you remember the famous scene in Gone With The Wind where Rhett Butler carries Scarlet up to her bedroom? The door closes and that is all we were exposed to. Clark Gable didn’t see the need for leering, and while Scarlet may have simpered for Ashley, she didn’t waste any of it on Rhett.

The now common practice of sharing the bedroom and it’s attendant problems with the public is getting out of hand. The newest ad is a pill aimed at the women of the world who are apparently having a problem constraining the men who have overdosed on raising their testosterone level.

Frankly, I don’t believe a word of it. cat